Former Rep. Lee Hamilton (D-Ind.) gave a boost to Rep. Brad Ellsworth's bid to keep retiring Sen. Evan Bayh's seat in Democratic hands. 

Hamilton told The Hill that Ellsworth, a fiscally conservative Blue Dog, "may be the strongest candidate that the Democrats could put forward." 

"He's moderate, very centrist in voting, would not be identified with liberal wing, he's an appealing guy, has movie star good looks just like Evan did," Hamilton said. 

Rep. Baron Hill (D-Ind.), another Blue Dog who is mulling a Senate run, would also be a "veteran, seasoned" candidate, Hamilton said. 

Hamilton, a centrist and Democratic elder statesman, said that Democrats have a tough Senate race on their hands if former Sen. Dan Coats wins the GOP nomination. 

"Dan's name is well known," Hamilton said. "He served as senator. I think he'll be a formidable opponent, running in a year I think the environment is favorable for Republicans, in [a state that] often votes for Republicans on the national level."